16.659 grey literature

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Sat May 03 2003 - 02:06:58 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 659.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

       [1] From: "P. T. Rourke" <ptrourke@methymna.com> (26)
             Subject: grey/gray literature?

       [2] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk> (43)
             Subject: graey literature

             Date: Sat, 03 May 2003 06:54:40 +0100
             From: "P. T. Rourke" <ptrourke@methymna.com>
             Subject: grey/gray literature?

    >The quasi-printed reports, unpublished but circulated papers, unpublished
    >proceedings of conferences, printed programs from conferences, and the
    >other non-unique material which seems to constitute the bulk of our modern
    >manuscript collections (Hirtle 1991)."

    No studies, but to provide you with a single empirical example of gray
    literature/published literature volumes from outside the bounds of
    academia: in our company's electronic archive (mostly in the hard sciences), we

    Have ~3000 presentations on hand (hard to tell, as there are a lot of
    presentation fragments that are recombined, etc.)
    Have 4200+ reports on hand
    Have 2700+ proposals on hand
    Have 1000+ published papers on hand

    These are solely the circulated documents we have produced which are
    present in the electronic archives (and so provide me with the ease to
    provide off-the-cuff statistics); uncirculated documents are categorized
    differently. I suspect that the number of unreported/unarchived but
    circulated reports and proposals is nearly 10% of those totals, and that
    perhaps 5% of published papers are unarchived/unreported. So the ratio for
    us is (depending upon how strict you are in your definition of gray
    literature) somewhere in the range of 4:1 . The reports have a much greater
    range of size (from 1 page to over 1,000), but on average they are the same
    size more or less as the published papers. Most of these reports are held
    in the client('s|s') collection for at least a few years before they are

    Patrick Rourke
    ptrourke at methymna.com

             Date: Sat, 03 May 2003 07:00:14 +0100
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: graey literature

    On the importance of gra(e)y literature for research in the history of
    science, see the preface to Peter Galison, How Experiments End (Chicago,
    1987), where he briefly discusses the sources for writing the history of
    relatively recent physics. The history of recent science and technology
    could not even be contemplated without such literature. (Whether it should
    be regarded as history properly speaking is another matter.) Note in
    particular Michael Mahoney's plea for those involved in software and
    hardware engineering to save and document, in "Issues in the History of
    Computing" and other essays, for which see

    Allow me to append the note on spelling of gray / grey from the OED:

    >Each of the current spellings has some analogical support. The only
    >mod.Eng. words repr. OE. words ending in '-aey' are key (which is
    >irrelevant on account of its pronunciation), whey, and clay. If we further
    >take into consideration the words repr. OE. words in '-ye', viz. blay or
    >bley, fey, wey, we have three (or four) instances of ey and only two (or
    >one) of ay. On the other hand, this advantage in favour of grey is
    >counterbalanced by the facts that clay is the only word of the five which
    >is in very general use, and that grey is phonetically ambiguous, while
    >gray is not. With regard to the question of usage, an inquiry by Dr.
    >Murray in Nov. 1893 elicited a large number of replies, from which it
    >appeared that in Great Britain the form grey is the more frequent in use,
    >notwithstanding the authority of Johnson and later Eng. lexicographers,
    >who have all given the preference to gray. In answer to questions as to
    >their practice, the printers of The Times stated that they always used the
    >form gray; Messrs. Spottiswoode and Messrs. Clowes always used grey; other
    >eminent printing firms had no fixed rule. Many correspondents said that
    >they used the two forms with a difference of meaning or application: the
    >distinction most generally recognized being that grey denotes a more
    >delicate or a lighter tint than gray. Others considered the difference to
    >be that gray is a _warmer' colour, or that it has a mixture of red or
    >brown (cf. also the quot. under 1 c below). In the twentieth century, grey
    >has become the established spelling in the U.K., whilst gray is standard
    >in the United States. There seems to be nearly absolute unanimity as to
    >the spelling of 'The Scots Greys', 'a pair of greys'. As the word is both
    >etymologically and phonetically one, it is undesirable to treat its
    >graphic forms as differing in signification.


    Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
    Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20
    7848-2784 fax: -2980 || willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk

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